The Christian and the Law

Just as the wrath of God cannot terrify us since Christ has set us free from it (Gal 5:1), so the law, sin, etc., cannot accuse and condemn us. Even though the law accuses us and sin terrifies us, they still cannot plunge us into despair, because faith, the victor over the world (1Jn 5:4), quickly declares: 'Those things have nothing to do with me, for Christ has set me free from them.' So also death, which is the most powerful and horrible thing in the world, lies conquered in our conscience through this freedom of the Spirit. Therefore the greatness of Christian freedom should be carefully measured and pondered. These words 'freedom from the wrath of God, from the law, sin, death, etc.,' are easy to say. But to feel the greatness of this freedom and to apply its results to oneself in a struggle, in the agony of conscience, and in practice, is more difficult than anyone can say. "Therefore one's spirit must be trained as a remedy against spiritual depression, so that when it feels the accusation of the law, the terrors of sin, the horror of death, and the wrath of God, it will drive out of sight these gloomy scenes and replace them with the freedom of Christ, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, life, and the eternal mercy of God. Although the feeling of these antagonists may be powerful, one must be sure that it will not last long. As the prophet says, 'In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you' (Is 54:8). But doing this is extremely difficult. "Therefore the freedom that Christ has achieved for us is easier to name than it is to believe. If it could be grasped in its certainty by a firm faith, no fury or terror of the world, the law, sin, death, the devil, etc., would be so great that it could not swallow them up as quickly as the ocean swallows a spark. Once and for all this freedom of Christ certainly swallows up and abolishes a whole universe of evils, the law, sin, death, the wrath of God, finally the serpent himself with his head (Gn 3:15); and in their place it establishes righteousness, peace, life, etc. But blessed is the man who understands and believes this."
--Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians


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